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For the week of March 27 - April 2, 2002

  News

Warm weather creates high slide hazard


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

Warm, wet weather brought down nine avalanches across upper Warm Springs Road late last week. It also has prompted the Sun Valley Ski Patrol to caution skiers about out-of-bounds skiing.

According to the Sawtooth National Forestís avalanche advisory recording, the warm conditions have created a high hazard of wet slides in mid and lower elevations, especially in the afternoons.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Blaine County Road and Bridge Department cleared slides on Warm Springs Road between Lower Board Ranch and Frenchmanís Bend. According to a department employee, a slide late Saturday afternoon came down about 200 yards past the end of the asphalt at the far end of Lower Board Ranch and trapped about eight cars on the far side until it was plowed.

"There are a couple more chutes up there that are known to slide and they havenít slid yet," said the employee, who asked that his name not be used. "To us, itís advisable for the public to stay out of the area until the slide dangerís over."

According to Brian Dirksmeier, Sun Valley Co. assistant snow safety officer, the local slide danger is not likely to subside until the Wood River Valley receives 12 hours of continuously freezing weather. The forecast for this week is for continuing warm weather, with highs expected to reach the mid 50s by this weekend.

"Our major concern right now is below 6,500 feet," Dirksmeier said. "Things are really saturated and well lubed. The snow is so weak at lower elevations that any trigger will start things moving. Weíre not recommending any out-of-bounds skiing until we get a good freeze at the valley floor."

Dirksmeier said skiers heading out of bounds can be fooled by good corn snow conditions at the top of Bald Mountain and then be trapped in a dangerous situation.

 


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.